• Report: #136381

Complaint Review: QVC

  • Submitted: Fri, March 25, 2005
  • Updated: Sat, July 02, 2005

  • Reported By:st. paul Minnesota
Nationwide U.S.A.

QVC ripoff Westchester Pennsylvania

*Consumer Comment: Warranty of merchantability, etc.


*UPDATE EX-employee responds: If you return items way too many times eventually youll get flagged

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QVC touts their return policy as the best in the industry. On TV and on their website their policy is as follows taken directly from their website:

What is QVC's return policy?
We want you to be completely satisfied with your purchase. If for any reason you're not entirely pleased, simply return the item within 30 days of receipt for exchange (if available) or a refund of the purchase price.

Their show-hosts also add ' no questions asked ' when they report it.

Well, I received two letters from their 'vice president of customer service' basically threatening me that if my 'rate of returns' did not drop, they would cancel my membership. I sent them a response giving an itemization of my returns and reason for each (clothing that shrunk, jewelry that broke, food arrived spoiled, etc.) and suggested that perhaps they look into their quality and not just willy-nilly say that the consumer is a bad person.

I received NO response so on my own I cancelled my membership and my credit card with them.

Their return policy is bogus based on the letters I got from them.

Buyer beware!

st. paul, Minnesota

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/25/2005 11:43 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/QVC/nationwide/QVC-ripoff-Westchester-Pennsylvania-136381. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Warranty of merchantability, etc.

AUTHOR: Timothy - (U.S.A.)

Sherri, thanks for the article. Your last question is a good one. I wish I still remembered that part of my U.C.C. course. Luckily, I still have my Gilbert's (the law student's best friend) from that class.

The warranty of merchantibility is impled in every sale of goods by a merchant unless effectively disclaimed. These retailers are probably not disclaiming the warranty. As such, the items must meet the following criteria to pass the test of merchantability: 1) the goods must be capable of passing without objection in the trade; 2) they must be fit for their ordinary purpose; 3) they must be adequately packaged and labelled; and 4) they must conform to the label. There are a couple of others that aren't pertinent (relating to bulk sales).

As you can see, it's a pretty low bar. If somebody sells you a shirt, and the labelling is accurate and sufficient, and the product conforms to industry standards, then the product has not run afoul of the warranty of merchantibility.

Wrong size, wrong color and "I just don't like it" are not warranty of merchantibility issues.

As such, the ability to return a merchantable product for reasons of personal preference is a benefit of the bargain, not a generally applicable right under the law.

Here is my theory as to how the policy DOES run afould of the law:

When you purchase a product in a store that accepts returns, you are paying a premium for the ability to return the product. The $16 billion annual loss from returns mentioned above certainly isn't coming out of the pockets of the CEO and vice president. It's coming out of the pocket of the consumer in the form of higher prices.

To me, that premium is consideration (value given) for a contractual right to return the product for reasons of preference. By paying the premium, you have bought the right to return the product for a liberal array of reasons. Theoretically, and according to economics, a store with a very limited return policy will incur fewer costs and pass the savings on to the consumer. This does play out to a degree in real life.

When the store endeavors to stifle your return, they are frustrating your ability to take advantage of an implied benefit of the contract. As such, they would be in breach and at least indebted to you for the portion of the sales price that reflected the "return premium," and probably for the entire sales price (but you wouldn't get to keep the product).

There are a couple fo problems, however. First, the vast majority of returns are for small-ticket items. Who is going to take JC Penney to court for a $30 sweater? The stores realize that virtually nobody will take legal action because of this issue. The increased profit from those that don't enforce their rights more than pays for any legal actions instituted by those that do. Remember, I'm not jsutifying this (some readers get confused when you try to show the reality of the situation and think that you're advocating the position).

The other dilemma is in the validity of their purported justification. If the consumers are eating the costs of fraudulent returns, shouldn't the merchant take steps to reduce those costs?

One problem with this justification is the unlikeliness that any savings made from this policy will actually be passed on to the consumer. If the savings were to be passed on to the consumer, if the "fraudulent return premium" were to be eliminated, I think alot of people would be happy with this policy. But we all know that this won't happen.

The other problem with this justification is that the system seems to be tarnished with a severe shortcoming: it monitors the number of returns you make, and the price amount of them, but it doesn't monitor how many returns you don't make (how many products you buy and don't return). You could buy 1000 items at a certain store, return four of them, and be precluded from returning anything else.

And that's not right.
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#2 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Sherri - (U.S.A.)

You become "marked" and can have your return denied?

Retailers crack down on returns

Some shoppers being monitored, blacklisted

By Barbara Whitaker

December 28, 2004

Tina Orkin said she thought she was making a routine return.

Orkin said she had her receipt, the tags were on the item, the item was undamaged and she was within the 60-day time period set for such transactions.

But after scanning her driver's license, the clerk at the Express clothing store told Orkin that her request to return was denied.

To receive an explanation, Orkin was told to call a toll-free telephone number at the Return Exchange, which has developed a state-of-the-art database to monitor returns at retailers. Each retailer that signs up for the company's service determines the criteria like the frequency of returns and the value of the items being returned for denying an exchange.

The service which consumer advocates say is being used by companies such as Express, KB Toys, the Sports Authority, Staples and Guess has been criticized for monitoring and blacklisting shoppers.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the practice and has proposed legislation to require stores that limit returns to clearly warn shoppers before they make a purchase.

With the holiday return season in full swing, the monitoring is cited as an example of how retailers are getting tougher on returns and exchanges as merchants try to combat billions of dollars in fraud. Retailers say return abuse is an increasing problem ranging from the shopper who purchases a dress, wears it once to a party and returns it, and up to more organized, large-scale rings that steal items and then profit from bringing them back.

"I'm concerned about the 99 percent of consumers who are not abusing the system," said Edgar Dworsky, a former assistant attorney general in Massachusetts and founder of ConsumerWorld.org, an Internet public service site. "It's the wrong size, the wrong color, the mother bought clothing for kids who didn't want it."

He said consumers returning gifts this holiday season "may be in for a nasty surprise," adding that "the stores are really cracking down on returns from this extreme of using a blacklist to the slicing and dicing of return dates for different product categories."

Dworsky said that this season consumers may confront more complicated return policies and more restrictive policies regarding the return of expensive electronic items such as computers and digital cameras. In addition, he said, more companies are charging restocking fees and some have shortened return periods.

As for what he calls "slicing and dicing" different deadlines for different types of items he uses Best Buy as an example. Consumers have until Jan. 8 to return items such as camcorders and digital cameras; all other items bought since Nov. 1 have until Jan. 24. Computers must be returned within 14 days and are excluded from the holiday policy. In addition, certain items have a 15 percent restocking fee.

Jay Musolf, a spokesman for Best Buy, said the staggered return policy was developed to give consumers more time to get merchandise back to the store. Typically, they have only 30 days on items except computers, which must always be returned within 14 days.

Scott Krugman, a spokesman for the National Retail Federation, said retailers lose an estimated $16 billion annually to fraud, though he agreed that the vast majority of consumers making returns do so legitimately.

"Consumers are going to find more stores with tighter, more restrictive return policies than they found last year," said King Rogers, a retail consultant. "When you look at the economics of it, $16 billion a year in losses, they have to tighten up."

For retailers wanting to stem such losses, the Return Exchange presents an attractive option. Executives with the Irvine software company declined to be interviewed and suggested that their Web site, www.returnexchange.com, be consulted.

The company gathers, analyzes and stores information regarding return behavior. In stores using the technology, trademarked as Verify-1, customers making returns are asked for their driver's license or state identification, which is swiped into a machine and recorded by the company.

"Staples started rolling it out maybe a year and half ago to counter return fraud," said Owen Davis, a spokesman for the company, which is based in Framingham, Mass. "It only applies to those returns without a receipt and it's only in select stores."

But consumer advocates voiced a variety of concerns from failure of merchants to notify consumers their return activity was being monitored to the possibility that shoppers would be unfairly singled out.

"Consumers don't have any sense of rules for this new return or exchange reporting mechanism," said Jordana Beebe, communications director for Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a public advocacy group in San Diego. "Often times people won't know they've transgressed this invisible boundary until they're making a return and it is declined."

Orkin, who has two daughters 18 and 22 and who lives in suburban Los Angeles, said she was denied after six transactions: four returns, one exchange and one price adjustment.

She said she shops frequently at Express and estimated that in the one-year period being examined she and her two daughters, ages 18 and 22, spent nearly $1,000 at stores in the chain.

"My issue is that there was nothing in the store to say this was their policy. You were simply denied," she said. "What's the number you can't return after? Is it three items? Is it four? Can you have 1,000 purchases and still be denied on the same number of returns as someone with five purchases?"

Anthony Hebron, a spokesman for Limited Brands, the parent company of Express, said the Express program is intended to track abnormal return behavior. It looks at the total number of returns, where the returns are made (specifically they're watching for returns in a variety of places) and the value of the returns. He said the company's tracking of returns is now clearly stated in stores and on receipts.

Hebron said the company began using Return Exchange because customers were complaining that it was taking too long to make returns, which involved writing out the same information now being gathered, and because they felt it would be a more secure way of handling the information.

"There is no blacklist," he said, noting that the process is supposed to protect consumers as well. "You get a red flag and when you call Return Exchange they send you a summary. Part of that is to identify abuse."

Good customers can call customer relations to clear up the matter and be placed on a VIP list to prevent problems in the future.

Orkin, however, said she was so offended by the practice she would not bother.

"I found it infuriating. I still don't know the grounds for the denial," she said. "I won't go back."

Once again, businesses forget the old school theory of keeping their customers happy and coming back...the mantra seems to be "what can we screw you out of today to keep our investors happy?"

Whatever happened to state laws about warranty of merchantibility? Does this "database" supersede consumer protection laws?
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#3 UPDATE EX-employee responds

If you return items way too many times eventually youll get flagged

AUTHOR: Marion - (U.S.A.)

The reason for this is because you can only return so many times at any one place. QVC isnt the only company that does this all stores do it even Walmart. If you return items way too many times eventually youll get flagged and they'll look into your returns. All your stuff seemed to have been worn,used, broken, claimed to be "spoiled". Having such frequent excuses such as these yell out fraud.if you had return items just because you dont like them then there wouldnt be a problem because you send it back in new condition, lots of people do it. My mom does it all the time.But any way i would advise people not to make too many of these returns. If you dont like it just send it back. Plus you dont want to end up black listed.Most stores will do that to you. There is even a website to find out if you are black listed already. Im going to find it so I can post it.
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